The moment everything went so RIGHT in a world that looked so WRONG! For a very long time I sat contemplating where did I go wrong. How did I, at 30 years old become a divorced mother of 3? My plan was never to become a negative societal statistic. I honestly felt I strategically played my part to ensure my family achieved the “American Dream”. This family started off rocky from the jump. Yanni and Za, my 1st and 2nd born were both products of unmarried young adults lost in the way of the world. We were a family supported by every acronym the State of Texas could create AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children), WIC ( Women, Infants and Children), CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) , etc..). I had a plan, I was going to fix this.
I was determined to single handedly improve our lives. I was never raised on food stamps, and attended to enough Vacation Bible School summer classes to know this was not my final destination in life. I had always been taught that if you work hard the world couldn’t deny you your rightful piece of the pie. I was determined to test this logic. After 10 years of enrollment in many Texas universities and colleges, 3 kids, becoming Hurricane Rita refugees and eventually the exchanging of vows I finally obtained my degree In Industrial Technology from Lamar University. Hallelujah! I never got the opportunity to put my degree to use though.
The day someone playfully shot out the enclosure glass of the bus stop located 10 ft from my daughter’s bedroom window I realized I needed a hustle and I needed it fast. I eventually got exhausted with the “sorry we have chosen someone with more experience” emails. I always felt those emails should read, “ sorry, you weren’t referred by anyone that we golf with ”. I’d heard you could receive your teaching certification through an alternative certification program if you had a bachelor’s degree. How about I teach?!
Mind you, I am that person, who said all my life I could not, would not and probably should not for the sake of my sanity teach anyone’s children. By this time unfortunately, teaching had become the new hustle in Texas. For some like myself it was no longer about passion but about making a dollar, unfortunately. It was my Plan D. Yes A, B, and C all epic fails. With my new career I was able to partially compete with the Joneses. Within months I had purchased our first home in a gated community in Houston and was sitting on black leather seats listening to my XM satellite radio. I have arrived. Wait! I have arrived.
Why do I feel I am arriving alone? Why does it feel like I am alone in this mad dash for success? Why do you, my husband, get to hi five the homies as they marvel in the accomplishments of our family? I am almost 100% sure this was not how this plan played out in my head! Eventually, I realized that “I” was doing too much planning. I needed to acknowledge that my story was already written and I was only a co-author. The moment I released trying to hold on to a story I created, I was able to allow myself the ability to stand in the presence of an incredibly beautiful mess.
Yes, I am now a single parent and the word co-parent is just cute and a far figment of my imagination. The truth is I am raising fatherless children in foreign world. I am okay with that. I am done keeping up with the Joneses. Once you live next door to them, you realize “hell, the Joneses got more issues than Playboy magazine”! Even in this mess I have found a place of peace. Sometimes you have put the pen down and just LIVE!
Tanai Benard 4 Deep!